‘The Voice’: Ellie Goulding Performs “On My Mind,” Jeffery Austin Slays Cher’s “Believe”
It’s hard to believe that it’s already the semi-finals on The Voice – what with all the contestants still in the running. Nine hopefuls took the stage last night (December 7), and based on the reactions of coaches Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams, it will be criminal when five of them are let go tonight.
Perhaps the guest performance by former advisor Ellie Goulding and the definitely not a guest performance by Blake Shelton took their minds off of the four-and-only-four slots hanging in the balance.
Probably not, but nonetheless, here’s how the guests, residents and contestants fared last night:
Ellie Goulding performs her new-ish single “On My Mind” from Delirium. The British songstress has some silver-clad male models pose on the stage with her, because it is always the right time to bring live mannequins into the mix.
Blake has his solo stage moment performing “Gonna.” It’s genuinely hard to fathom what he and fellow coach Gwen listen to when they are in the car together, because it’s hard to see her honky-tonking out to this one.
Team Blake: Barrett Baber
Barrett Baber decides to “swamp it up” with Ella Henderson’s “Ghost.” For better or worse it’s swampy, though there is nothing particularly interesting about it. Barrett seems out of breath throughout, and – whether a technology fail like Pharrell suggests, or a contestant fail like it actually appears – his low notes are weak.
“What a way to like really just share your emotions in the purist way possible,” says Pharrell, who notes that the microphone went out during his performance. Dubious.
Blake just about gives him a trophy. “Here’s the door to the finale, and you just kicked it in,” he raves. “We better start figuring out what you’re going to be doing next week.” Knock on wood, bro.1
Team Blake: Zach Seabaugh
The time for fun, games and hip gyrations is (apparently) over for Zach Seabaugh, who forgoes a high energy crowd pleaser for something more “deep.” To Zach, that is Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” Maybe the audience that finds that song deep finds this performance engaging, but for everyone else, it is a big yawn.
“Why am I not in high school. I could have my locker and I could have all of his pictures taped in there?” says Gwen, whose fantasy crush on Zach continues to get weirder. “To see you do a song like that and this point in the competition? I’m scared.”
“That was your best performance of Season 9 of The Voice so far,” says Blake. “Perfect timing.”
Team Blake: Emily Ann Roberts
Wanting to have her very own Zach Seabaugh moment — you know, the kind from past weeks that had the ladies screaming — Emily Ann Roberts sings Dolly Parton’s “9 To 5.” She’s just a bundle of energy strutting about onstage, but it doesn’t hurt her on-point vocals.
“I don’t understand how you can sing that perfect,” says Gwen. “Your kind of crazy kooky side, that spunky thing, came out.”
“You’re going to make somebody so much money,” says Blake. “You have to be going to the finale.”
Team Gwen: Jeffrey Austin
Jeffrey Austin continues his meteoric rise to the top with another stripped down version of a pop song. This time, he sings Cher’s “Believe” — sans Auto Tune, naturally — and just stares it into the universe’s collective soul. It’s hard to pick between all of his killer performances, but this one might just very well be the best.
“I hope all three of my artists make it into the finale but you, Jeffrey, just proved that you absolutely deserve to be in the finale,” says Blake.
Coach Gwen, whose hair reads Game Of Thrones audition, agrees. “Obviously he’s going to the finale. He’s ridiculously talented. Please just vote for him.”
Team Gwen: Braiden Sunshine
Fresh off of his Instant Save, Braiden Sunshine channels all of his emotion for “Amazing Grace.” Does he ever pick the right time to have his best moment! There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, but it highlights his strong voice better than any performance since the Blind Auditions. Obviously, Daenerys TarGwenyen is in tears.
“To be doing what you’re doing live on television across the nation, you’re shining the light for a lot of kids,” says Pharrell.
Gwen marvels in stream of consciousness, saying, “The way you did it, and how beautifully you did it, and your tone.” Before imploring people to vote, she adds a full sentence, “It was so spiritual and so beautiful.”
Team Pharrell: Madi Davis
With only one contestant to focus on for the past couple of weeks, Pharrell put all of his energy into it. For Madi Davis, this means big set design and a jazzy reimagining of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” It’s lovely, and complements her bigger performances to date, but it’s a little mellow for a sign-off on her appeal for the finale.
“I felt like I was watching a Disney movie,” says Blake. “That was too perfect to be live.”
“You’re prepared for Broadway or film,” says Pharrell. “You were like an actress.”
Team Adam: Shelby Brown
It’s nerves no more for powerhouse Shelby Brown! The formerly self-conscious country crooner is put together and the portrait of confidence when she performs Jo Dee Messina’s “Even God Must Get The Blues.” She applies comments from previous weeks, and uses her growl sparingly. If there was an award for most improved, Shelby would be in the running…but there’s not, so she’s just gotta hope for those votes.
“You did sound amazing tonight,” says Blake. “You sang beautifully, you sang perfectly in time you sang perfectly in tune.”
“This girl – especially after what she’s done tonight – deserves to be voted through to the finale,” says Adam. “You’ve conquered all of those demons.”
Team Adam: Amy Vachal
In a twist, Amy Vachal does not do a twist on a pop song! Instead, she sings Adele-by-way-of-Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” It’s nice to see her go back to her roots with a truly lovely and emotional performance.
“Your voice seems like it was made of what beautiful clouds are made of,” says Pharrell. “Your voice ignites somebody wanting to do the right thing.”
“This room completely froze and stopped, and all of the energy was completely focused on you,” says Adam, calling her style “completely different and refreshingly raw and honest.”
Team Adam: Jordan Smith
Closing it out is pack leader Jordan Smith, who branches out from his typical emotional performances with Queen’s “Somebody To Love.” Don’t worry — it’s still big, and it’s further confirmation of his ticket to the finals. The coaches are all on their feet after, and Adam goes up on stage to hug him and physically do a mic drop.
Due to Carson Daly’s show pacing fail (you have one job, Carson), only Adam gets to speak on Jordan’s behalf. Not that it’s really needed.
“I don’t need to say anything at all because that’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” says Adam.
Based on the season as a whole, it seems as though Jeffrey Austin and Jordan Smith should be shoo-ins, with Emily Ann Roberts in close contention with the country backing. Though even those ones are far from guaranteed, what about that fourth slot? Madi Davis for her season as a whole? Braiden Sunshine for his “Amazing Grace” hail Mary? Amy Vachal because the people want them some more covers? Zach Seabaugh because teenagers are good at texting? It’s really (almost) anyone’s game.
Who are you putting your money on?